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What'cha Reading?


commander damage
well now that i'm not gonna be reading new dragonlance, i decided to reread Brust's first book, jhereg.

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
I've been reading this John Le Carre box set I bought myself. I've finished Call for the Dead and am about halfway through A Murder of Quality. I actually like the somewhat spy flavored mysteries.

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
I don't think I've ever read a book trilogy with such a steep curve of diminishing returns as The Themis Files. The gimmick (no narration, just conversations and letters) is not strong enough to sustain a whole trilogy, so the main plot, which should be awesome (mankind reassembles a prehistoric giant piloted alien robot - original creators of said robot are not happy) fizzles into nothing. The first book is good, the second is OK I guess?, the third one is eh, are we done?. Read the first one, don't bother with the sequels.

Paul le Fou

Yeah, I read the first two and was vaguely interested in the third but never enough to pick it up over...anything else at all. Thanks for letting me know that I definitely don't need to!
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Was a tad bit underwhelmed by TWOA. I'll finish up the series, but not for a bit.

Switching from fantasy to science fiction with Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
That didn't work out for me, so instead it's The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton. I enjoyed Evelyn Hardcastle, so let's see if his follow up is as good

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
Cinderella is Dead is as subtle as an anvil painted in rainbow colors dropped on you by Bugs Bunny while he's dancing a tango and dressed in a colorful costume covered in bells. To be fair, I guess it has to be, since the target audience skews much younger than me - and I must admit how thoroughly the author manages to cover the whole range of basic gender equality theory, down to dismounting the "Not All Men" "defense".

The plot, by the way, is that 200 years after Cinderella married Prince Charming, the country is holding annual balls for teenagers - attendance is mandatory for women, and men of any age can pick a bride at the ball, and women can't refuse an offer. Girls who are not chosen after three balls are declared forfeited and are banished - or that's the official tale. But our protagonist, a lesbian PoC, finds out something else might be going on behind the banishments, and that the true tale of Cinderella might have been different to the fairy tale version, and it's being used by the current king to keep himself in power and the women of the kingdom under his thumb. A decent book, and a nice twist on a very old fairy tale.

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
So I just devoured two good super-hero books in two days by April Daniels. I'm glad I read them back to back because they really read like two parts of the same novel, with character beats being hinted in the first one that don't pay off until the second one.

Dreadnought is about a 15-year old closeted trans girl who gets in the middle of a super-hero fight that ends with the death of that world's Superman analogue, Dreadnough, and as he dies he passes on his powers to her. But the powers also come with a perfect physical body, according to the powers' wielder's mind, so it also physically transforms her body into a feminine body. The book deals with both her elation of her body finally matching her gender and the terror of being forced out of the closet to his abusive parents - and that's on top of the weight of being, well, the successor to the most celebrated hero in the world, with half of her fellow heroes pressuring her to become the next Dreadnought for practical or PR reasons and the other half being uncomfortable with the idea of a teenager trans lesbian girl becoming The Super-Hero (some because they think she deserves to be a normal girl if she wants to, and some others for the obvious bigoted reasons the author doesn't shy way from).

The sequel, Sovereign, is even better, and dares to explore the logical followup - what happens when somebody grows up in an abusive home where they were humiliated continuously and then they start getting acclaimed for punching people really hard? So it becomes a book about anger and the helplessness that comes when you're really good at violence but you can't force your way out of some problems, both super-heroic and personal. It also has a lot of orbital mechanics.

So there's a lot of character drama taking place in the middle of two honest, solid, super-hero plots. The world is well fleshed out, and the supporting cast shines, including a superb "White-cape" mentor figure and a "Grey-cape" vigilante crime-fighting partner. Yes, Daniel knows all the super-hero tropes and plays them like the orchestra in a super-hero movie. It also helps that Dreadnought's powerset is original for a Superman analogue, which keeps things interesting (Dreadnought is not a flying brick - although she can be if she wants to, because she's a reality warper. She can do some nifty stuff by altering the laws of physics or by reading reality itself through her powers).

(and for us hopeless romantics, the romantic subplot is adorkable, with one of the top pre-first kiss conversations I've read, and probably the best meet-the-mother-in-law scenes in fiction)

Highly recommended. Supposedly there's a third book in the works but the author hasn't published anything in the last 3 years - I hope all's OK in her end. I really would like to read more of this universe, because the second book felt like it had a definite conclusion but lacked closure, and I wouldn't mind some.
Just finished Nothing to See Here which is about a woman who is contacted by her old friend to be a nanny for her stepchildren who spontaneously combust... except the fire doesn't hurt them. Quite bonkers but also really mundane, I liked it a lot.
The Woody Allen book was decent, until he gets into his relationship with Mia, and then it gets nasty. He just continues on and on about how bad a foster parent she is, and while I'm willing to agree with him, it just went on for too long. I have better things I want to read, thank you very much.

Going to read The Unofficial Guide to Game of Thrones by Kim Renfro instead, which I'm sure will be a better reading experience
This book went a whole lot better. Moving on to The World of Critical Role by Liz Marsham. While I've never played any tabletop games before, I consider myself a bit of an enthusiast, and I really enjoy watching the Critical Role streams. I'm more a fan of the first campaign than the current one, though

Johnny Unusual

I have a bunch of random books from my family at my apartment. Was surprised to find a Haruki Murakami book. But this one is less "Lynchian magic realism" and more "I like to run". So I'm reading that.
I have a bunch of random books from my family at my apartment. Was surprised to find a Haruki Murakami book. But this one is less "Lynchian magic realism" and more "I like to run". So I'm reading that.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running was an expected delight, I hope you like it. Also if that's not the Murakami running book you're thinking of please let me know that there's another one, I want to read that too!

I'm reading Compelling People for our Leadership book club at work. I'm not really enjoying the book, but neither are most of the coworkers in my group. The discussions with coworkers about their leadership experiences or what they want to learn/wish this book did better have been really good though.


I've started running because of that book. That was... eight years ago? Enjoyed it a lot, too. Recently, i was thinking of rereading Kafka On The Shore... I don't think i like Murakami fiction very much - his 'magical realism' is so tasteless -, but i remember loving Kafka On The Shore when i was younger, so, maybe on a reread i change my opinion about him. But the book is in my mom's house, so that's going to take a while.

Right now i've just finished The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. I think it is a good book, but i didn't like it. Too many bad things happening to characters i like. I'm not in the mood for this right now. I'll postpone reading the next book...


Been reading the Lucia books. Dryly amused at the way the utter bastard she is in at the start of the series is softened via authorial love into....well, not someone you necessarily want to hang out with, but who you're expected to root for.
So, we all know hoe fickle I can be when it comes to books, right? I'm switching over to The Platinum Age of Television by David Bianculli
Wow, can't believe it took me that long to finish it, which tells you how mediocre I thought it was (controversial opinion, I know)

Anyway, with the sequel due out at the end of the month, I'd thought I'd reread Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
I'm closing in the end of The Looking Glass War, which is one of the most pathetic and pointless, in a good way, things I have ever read. Now the question is whether I reread Tinker Tailor or go on to The Honourable Schoolboy.
After having read Not Since Carrie a while back, I had hoped an updated version would come out one day. TA DA! Musical Misfires: Three Decades of Broadway Musical Heartbreak by Mark A. Robinson and Thomas S. Hischak